Dodgers 3 Mets 4: Thor Hammers Maeda
Mets pitcher Noah Syndergaard homered twice, handing Kenta Maeda his second loss of the season and dropping the Dodgers back into a tie for first with the Giants.
Baseball can be a very crazy game. Syndergaard had only hit one home run in his career before tonight. The flame-throwing right-hander looked a bit shaky on the mound in the early-going, but was somehow totally locked in at the plate. He blasted his first home run in the top of the third inning, a solo shot to right-center. But Corey Seager answered back with a solo shot of his own in the bottom half of the frame, and Grandal even gave Maeda the lead back with a home run in the fourth. So, no-harm, no-foul, right? Um, not so much.
Until tonight, Meada seemed to have a knack for getting himself out of jams. He kept that vibe going in the early part of the game, wriggling out of a tight spot in the second inning when he gave up a lead-off single to Yoenis Cespedes (Puig’s arm kept him from taking second), a walk to Lucas Duda, and then a steal of third to Céspedes. Things looked bad, but he struck out Rene Rivera to end the threat.
However, Maeda’s luck of skirting disasters came to halt in the fifth inning. He worked his way into a corner that he just couldn’t find a way out of this time with a hit batsman, followed by a steal, a walk, and then the three-run bomb by Thor. Ironically, Syndergaard was trying to bunt earlier in the at-bat but swung away with two strikes. The Mets then knocked a very gassed-looking Maeda out of the game in the top of the sixth after a Lucas Duda single and a deep double to center by Neil Walker.
Of course, once Syndergaard gave himself the lead, he started to dominate, setting down the next 11 Dodgers in a row. He struck out six, only walked one, and pretty much cruised through his eight innings. On the bright side, the Dodger bullpen extended its scoreless innings streak to 14, keeping the team in this game right up until the end. Chris Hatcher relieved Maeda in the sixth with runners at second and third; normally, this would be a sure implosion for him. But he struck out two batters, including Curtis Granderson, to end the inning with the bases loaded. Good sign. Adam Liberatore, Louis Coleman, and Joe Blanton also got key outs in their frames with Blanton striking out four in his two innings of work.
The Dodgers rallied in the bottom of the ninth against Mets closer Jeurys Familia with Adrian Gonzalez smoking a double to start things off. Gonzalez then took third on a groundout by Yasmani Grandal, and scored on a sharp grounder to the right of second base by Joc Pederson that looked like a sure hit. But as luck would have it, shortstop Asdrubal Cabrera was playing in the shift and was able to make a diving stop and a perfect throw to first to get Pederson. Gonzalez would score on the play to make it 4-3, but Yasiel Puig, it yet another key moment, struck out to end the game.
Tomorrow night Clayton Kershaw will take on Bartolo Colon in the rubber game of the series. With Kershaw on the mound, the Dodger hitting showing signs of life, and the dinosaur Colon on the mound, things are looking pretty good for that split.